Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis appoints Judge Barbara Lagoa of Miami to the Florida Supreme Court
Judge Barbara Lagoa is introduced by Gov. Ron DeSantis

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has chosen a female Cuban-American appellate judge as his first pick for the Florida Supreme Court.

The new governor on Wednesday announced that Barbara Lagoa will fill one of three open seats on the court.

Lagoa, a daughter of Cuban exiles raised in Hialeah, has been a judge on the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Miami for the past 12 years.

DeSantis said 50-year-old Lagoa has an impeccable judicial background and that her Cuban-American upbringing gives her extra appreciation for the rule of law. The announcement was held at Miami’s Freedom Tower. This was a fitting location for the announcement, given its beacon as a symbol of freedom to Cubans who fled from Fidel Castro’s communist rule of the island nation. DeSantis and Lagoa were joined by Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez, a Cuban-American who grew up in Miami and attended Florida International University, DeSantis’ wife, Casey DeSantis, and Lagoa’s family.

“Justice Lagoa’s proven commitment to upholding the rule of law, unparalleled legal career and vast experience on the appellate bench distinguish her among the most qualified individuals to serve on our state’s highest court,” DeSantis said.

Lagoa attended Florida International University and Columbia University law school. Her father-in-law is Miami senior U.S. District Judge Paul C. Huck. She becomes the first Hispanic woman to serve on the Florida Supreme Court.

DeSantis has two other Supreme Court picks due to mandatory retirements.

DeSantis Picks Barbara Lagoa for State’s High Court